I stumbled upon this article recently and it made me think of how math is thought about within the family unit.
How do we did get a classroom, school, community, entire society to all share the same cultural values in regards to the importance of math?
The importance to literacy seems to be there. Parent/teacher conferences will sometimes often have a similar theme if the parent acknowledges during their time in school they were not a strong student. The parent will realize the importance of their child reading fluently and having comprehension of the text. No matter what challenges the parent has in providing support to their child they are on board with doing whatever it takes in getting their child to learn to read.
The same cannot be said when it comes to numeracy. On the topic of math, some parents will throw up their hands. They will say they never understood math so they are not surprised their child is having difficulty. The openness to supporting the child does not get the same emphasis as language did a few moments ago.
I have heard of parents and grandparents going back to high school to complete their diploma’s just to be a role model to their children and end the cycle of illiteracy that kept occurring within the family. I don’t know many stories where parents went to the same measures to show their commitment to math.
Why is this? Why is it that some people are not concerned with being able to make correct change but are embarrassed that they cannot read a menu or put together a proper sentence?
These questions lead me to think of our reliance on math tools and my own family background. I come from a family of skilled trade workers. A culture of math is ingrained in the family. I can remember feeling a tinged of shame if my grandfather asked me an application question related to math and my estimate was no where near the mark. As a carpenter, I never saw him pull out a calculator when he was designing or completing a project even though he put high standards on the work. The standard he set for himself resonated throughout the family.
Our “new” methods of teaching math are the same as the methods my grandfather used in the applications he did many years ago. Creating an accepting culture to numeracy will lead to student success and continue to build a society that has high standards when it comes to application beyond school.